The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 15, 2012

Food Bank of Southern Iowa receives $100,000 from Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation

OTTUMWA — The Food Bank of Southern Iowa opened an early Christmas present Friday morning.

The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation granted $100,000 to kickstart the food bank’s new initiative, a “Revolving Food Fund,” which will allow them to purchase staple foods and food from wholesalers to re-sell to pantries at discount prices. The net difference means the fund will be continually replenished and self-sustaining, thus the term “revolving.”

“It will help us put our plans into action to effectively and immediately fill shelves for the 13 counties we serve to relieve hunger,” said food bank board president Cheryl Steffen.

A food consortium of organizations throughout the community will help the food bank to “attack the food insecurity that’s abounding in our 13 counties,” Steffen said.

According to Feeding America’s project “Map the Meal Gap,” 14.8 percent of Wapello County is food insecure. The additional money required to meet food needs in the county in 2010 was more than $2 million.

Nearly 65 percent of students in the Ottumwa school district participate in the free and reduced lunch program and 23 percent of children in Wapello County are food insecure.

The FBSI serves 160 agencies in 13 counties, and they will all benefit from this donation, said Neal Abbott, executive director of the food bank.

Abbott previously told the Courier that fewer food donations meant this year was a rough one. The food bank only sent out 1.5 million pounds of food compared to 2 million pounds last year.

“This is absolutely a miracle,” said Tony Yencsik.

Ron Brickey, food bank board member, said five counties in the food bank’s jurisdiction are the most food insecure in the state: Wapello, Jefferson, Van Buren, Keokuk and Lee counties.

Abbott said most pantries and agencies go to retail stores to get their basic items when the food bank doesn’t have those items available, which means they pay full price.

“We’ll use this money to find items food banks need, such as mac and cheese, peanut butter, the basics,” Abbott said.

Whereas other pantries and agencies would have to buy an item wholesale for $1, they will be able to come to the food bank to buy the same item for 38 cents, Abbott said.

The demand exceeds availability, said ORLF board chair Tom Lazio, and if agencies have to buy items at retail price, that money doesn’t go as far as it does when they can buy the same item at a discounted price from the food bank.

“This fits nicely with our mission as a foundation to improve the health and vitality of the community,” Lazio said. “If we put this kind of money into something, it means we really believe in the program.

“Here we are in the bread basket of Iowa, and people are going without food.”

ORLF president and CEO Brad Little said the revolving fund is sustainable, meaning it doesn’t need constant injections of cash to keep it growing.

Little hopes this effort will start a conversation on how to solve the growing hunger problem.

“Things are not adding up,” Little said. “We’re obese but we’re food insecure.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Grass photo -L -T Is your grass too tall? OTTUMWA — Do you let your grass grow to 12 inches before it's mowed? Do you park a vehicle in your front yard on the grass? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you could be violating the Make Ottumwa Shine Committee’s proposed amendment

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill OK'd for data recovery OTTUMWA — Almost a month ago, the city’s Engineering Department’s server failed. After receiving and installing the necessary parts, attempts to restart the server failed, resulting in a drive being shipped to Data Recovery Services in St. Louis in h

    July 21, 2014

  • Man killed in Wapello County BLOOMFIELD — A man was discovered dead Monday of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, but a press release said that at 1:21 a.

    July 21, 2014

  • Forensic scientist: Residue doesn't determine who fired gun DAVENPORT — A forensic scientist who testified today in the trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife said that gun residue should be collected if possible. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges o

    July 21, 2014

  • Welding academy at Cardinal becomes reality ELDON — Many high school seniors find themselves making the decision to pursue college coursework or enter the work force upon graduation. A new program at Cardinal High School (CHS) eliminates this decision by offering courses that will allow studen

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 stick horse color photo -L -T -M 4-H Expo encourages creatitivy OTTUMWA — Typically during the 4-H Expo, horses are kept at the horse arena in Ottumwa Park, but Saturday kids galloped around Bridge View Center on homemade stick horses. Children at the expo spent Saturday morning creating their own cowboy vest and

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gunshot victim found dead BLOOMFIELD — A man was found dead of a gunshot wound in rural Wapello County. However, no further danger related to the shooting is expected. Though authorities aren't giving full details of the incident, a press release said at 1:21 a.m. Monday the

    July 21, 2014

  • NEST program educates parents OTTUMWA — With any new job, you typically go through a training period that prepares you for the future. The Wapello County Iowa State Extension Office is offering both first-time and experienced parents helpful training through its NEST program. NES

    July 21, 2014

  • 0722 OTT hottest day map Heat arrives, but won't linger OTTUMWA — As hot as Monday and Tuesday seem, it’s not really a surprise. This is July, after all. A heat advisory went into effect at noon Monday and will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Forecasters think a front Tuesday night will bring much

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints